New travel rules coming in October

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 1/27/20

Starting Oct. 1 another layer of security is added to domestic flights when passengers must present a federally approved Real ID to get on the plane.

Such identification is also required to enter …

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New travel rules coming in October

Posted

Starting Oct. 1 another layer of security is added to domestic flights when passengers must present a federally approved Real ID to get on the plane.

Such identification is also required to enter secured federal institutions like a prison or military base.

Tim Crippes from the Illinois Secretary State’s Drivers License Facility, and Alicia Hollis discussed the changes during the Kiwanis meeting noon Tuesday, Jan. 21, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.

“To fly after Oct. 1, you can’t get on the plane without a gold star on your license,” said Crippes.

The Real ID program is operating through the Secretary of State’s office in its capacity to issue drivers licenses and state photo ID cards.

Obtaining the Real ID authorized license requires an individual provide a minimum of four verifiable documents.

The first document is something establishing proof of identity, date of birth, U.S. citizenship or lawful status for non-citizens. A U.S. passport suffices. Other possible documents in this category include: a certified birth certificate; a consular report of birth abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State; a certificate of citizenship issued by Homeland Security; certificate of naturalization issued by Homeland Security; employment authorization document issued by Homeland Security; foreign passport with valid U.S visa; permanent resident card issued by Homeland Security

“Women are at a disadvantage,” said Crippes, explaining if a woman’s name changed at marriage or through a divorce it is also necessary to provide a certified marriage certificate or certified divorce decree.

A marriage certificate or divorce decree is not required if a woman’s passport has the correct name.

Proof of possession of a Social Security Number is required. That can be shown with a Social Security card, a W-2, a pay stub or printed electronic deposit receipt bearing the applicant’s name and Social Security number in full, SSA-1099 Form or Non-SSA-1099 form.

“If you can’t find your Social Security card, you can get a new one through one of the area Social Security offices,” Crippes said.

Proof of residency requires two documents which can be: a bank statement dated within 90 days; a canceled check dated within 90 days; a credit card statement within 90 days; deed/title, mortgage or rental/lease agreement; homeowner or renter’s insurance policy; medical claim or statement of benefits from private or public insurance within 90 days; pay stub or printed electronic deposit receipt; official mail from a state, county, city, village or federal government agency that shows the recipient’s first and last name and complete current address; pension or retirement statement; utility bill within the last 90 days; or a voter registration card.

Students can prove residency with a certified grade/high school or college transcript, a letter on official school stationary, a report card or a tuition invoice.

Finally, proof of a written signature as found on officially issued government documents.

A complete list of what is considered acceptable documentation for obtaining a Real ID is available at RealID.ilsos.gov.

Evidence of identity presented to the license branch must be in document form. Screen shots of photos of images stored on phones are not acceptable.

“You want to have the right stuff,” said Crippes. “They won’t accept something that doesn’t look right. That’s why we are so strict about it.”

Crippes explained all of the documents submitted to prove identity are scanned and returned. The scanned images are transmitted to an office in Springfield where federal workers confirm the authenticity and approve issuance of gold star drivers license.

“You can add a star to your license at any time for $5,” said Crippes. “If you wait until you renew the license, the fee is folded into the renewal.”

People with a valid passport do not need the Real ID to fly. Passports are required for international flights and they are accepted as identification on domestic flights. People not wanting to carry a valuable document like a passport during domestic trips should plan to go ahead and obtain a gold star marked drivers license, because either a Real ID or a passport is required to get past airport security starting Oct. 1.

Hollis explained how to get a passport. The appropriate forms are available at the post office and the applicant must also have a valid photo identification and a certified copy of his or her birth certificate.

In addition, a specifically sized photo must accompany the passport application. The post office staff processing the application can also take the photo for a $15 fee. Hollis said other places advertise the ability to take a passport photo but the post office staff has the discretion to accept or reject photos from an outside source.

“I recommend you get them done at the post office to make sure they are done right,” she said.

A couple of other precautions Hollis noted are the length of time needed to get a passport and travel restrictions that may exist as the 10-year document approaches expiration.

“A passport normally takes six to eight weeks to get so you need to plan your travel accordingly,” said Hollis.

On the other end, some countries will not admit a person whose passport is within six months of expiration. She said it is better to renew the passport before it reaches that critical period.

A passport costs $110, plus $15 for the photo and a $35 processing fee. Everything can be done at the post office from obtaining the form, having a postal worker verify both the information and supporting documents and submitting everything to the state department.

Hollis noted U.S. citizens also have the option of getting a passport card instead of the passport book.

“Passport cards are more restrictive,” she said. “They are for ground travel only for people driving to Canada or Mexico. You cannot fly with a passport card.”